Rafah crossing May 28, 2011 (Reuters)
Palestinians wait at the Egyptian passport administration at Rafah crossing port, Saturday, May 28, 2011. Photo by Reuters
Text size
related tags

Hamas authorities closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Maan news agency reported on Sunday.

According to Palestinian officials, the crossing was closed due to lack of coordination with their Egyptian counterparts, who closed the border on Saturday without informing them.

Egyptian officials said the crossing was closed on Saturday due to maintenance work. It was reopened in the afternoon, but only for pedestrians. Palestinian border officials, in turn, said three buses filled with 180 passengers had waited several hours to cross the border at Rafah, the Hamas Islamist-ruled territory's gateway to Egypt, and some of those waiting responded by forcing the gate open.

Egypt had reopened the crossing on a routine basis on May 28, a step that eased conditions for the coastal territory blockaded on its other borders by Israel, which says it needs to ensure Hamas doesn't smuggle in weapons.

But tensions over conditions at the Rafah terminal have been building since Hamas accused Egypt this week of placing limits on the number of people allowed through.

Israel has tightened a blockade of Gaza since Hamas, a group that refuses to recognize Israel, seized control there in 2007.